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Media: Who Leaked Deasy's "Resignation" (& Why It Didn't Work)

image from farm8.staticflickr.comWait, what just happened?  First embattled LAUSD superintendent John Deasy was resigning, then he's being re-upped -- for another two years?

The two main theories behind the last few days of tumult and rumor in LA are (a) that Deasy authorized a leak to scare the board into keeping him (and it nearly got out of hand) or (b) that Deasy opponents (most likely Mike Trujillo in Richard Vladovic's office) leaked the story to try and create momentum around an early Deasy departure.

So which was it and why didn't the leak work?

Of the two, the latter seems much more realistic to me.  Deasy opponents tried to get an avalanche going -- came close to succeeding thanks to sloppy reporting (from the LA Times, especially) -- but were thwarted in the end.

It's not that Deasy doesn't leak to get good stories rolling or to try and startle his opponents. He's done that tons of times, and the high-risk strategy has worked for him. Clearly, there was some discussion about Deasy's possible departure going on between him and the Board.The iPad rollout has been going poorly and was going to be a big topic of debate. 

But Deasy and his allies know better at this point than to try and leak to the LA Times, where Howard Blume usually takes the UTLA/anti-Deasy side of things these days. It was pretty clear from the first Thursday story that the news came from Vladovic's office, given the Trujillo quotes and the relationship between Blume and that office.   And Blume pretty much admitted that the story came from there in a followup webchat he did (h/t LA School Report).

Vladovic also had the added motivation of being on the verge of being censured by the board for misbehavior that he's denied, admitted, and now seems to be denying again.

Why didn't the Vladovic leak work, then?  Well, it turned out that not everyone is as focused on getting rid of Deasy as is Vladovic and the teachers union. Board member Steve Zimmer came out against Deasy's departure, and newbie Monica Ratliff was notably quiet about wanting Deasy gone. And there was enough time between Thursday and yesterday's Board meeting for Deasy allies to get their act together. 

Unanswered questions:  Why didn't the NYT or AP (or Washington Post) deign to give much real coverage to the drama (or did they and I missed it)? Does the LA Times owe Deasy an apology -- or its readers a correction?

Previous posts here. Image here.

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Maybe Deasy did it himself to distract from the billion-dollar iPad fiasco, which is a much bigger issue than bad behavior by the school board prez.

I think its noteworthy that there was an agenda item added at the last minute that included discussing exposure to litigation as a result of 'superintendent separation'. I wonder how likely it was that the evaluation result was part of a deal to avoid litigation. Wasn't someone holding a sign at the board meeting that said 'kids before politics'?

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